Sentosa Cove bungalow sold for $28 million, fetches near-record price of $2,923 psf

Singapore - A bungalow in a prime seafront location on Sentosa Cove has been sold for a near-record price of S$2,923 per square foot (psf) on land area.

The absolute price works out to S$28 million for the property, which is located along Ocean Drive and consists of two storeys and a basement. It sits on 9,580 square feet of land with 99-year-leasehold tenure starting June 2005 - reflecting a balance lease tenure of 88 years.

This is only the second caveat to be lodged for a bungalow purchase in Sentosa Cove this year. The property has four bedrooms, a meeting room, a swimming pool (with views of the sea, CBD and container terminals), a koi pond and a roof terrace.

The property is being sold by Hii Yii Ann, a Malaysian citizen and Brisbane businessman who has been in the news in Australia on tax evasion charges according to Australian media reports. Mr Hii, who is in his 50s, made his fortune in the timber business in Papua New Guinea.

BT understands that the buyer is a Chinese citizen and Singapore permanent resident (PR) in his late 30s, involved in an IT/telecom business.

Good Class Bungalow deals in 2016

  • A charming single-storey bungalow on a sprawling site in Queen Astrid Park has changed hands for S$44.5 million. The buyer is understood to be a family member of Goh Hup Jin, son of billionaire paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang.
  • A house along Kingsmead Road where the late Raffles Institution principal Philip Liau used to reside is being sold for S$29 million.
  • The price works out to S$1,065 per square foot based on the freehold land area of 27,228 sq ft.
  • The buyer is understood to be Darwin Indigo, a nephew of Wilmar executive deputy chairman Martua Sitorus. Mr Indigo, who is in his mid-30s, is deputy country head (Indonesia) at Wilmar International.
  • The S$29 million transaction is the biggest deal in a GCB Area since a S$32 million sale along Queen Astrid Park in July last year.
  • Ezra Holdings' Lee family has put their waterway-fronting Sentosa Cove bungalow on the block. The exclusive 2-storey 5-bedroom property comes with a price tag of S$26 million, or S$2,258 per square foot on land area.
  • The property is held by Lee Kian Soo, Ezra's founder and chairman and father of Lionel Lee, the offshore marine firm's chief executive and managing director.
  • In October last year, Mr Lionel Lee and his mother sold their GCB along Windsor Park Road for $21.8 million.
  • The freehold property at 122 Windsor Park Road, off Upper Thomson Road, has a land size of 20,383 sq ft, which works out to a price of about $1,070 per sq ft (psf).
  • In Jan 2016, a GCB along King Albert Park, which comes with a swimming pool, was sold by upmarket developer Simon Cheong.
  • The property fetched S$25 million, which translates to S$1,493 per square foot (psf) based on the land area of 16,750 square feet. The bungalow's built-up area is said to be around 10,000 sq ft.
  • The buyer, who is expected to occupy the bungalow once the existing lease ends, is Fang Koh Look, founder of Absolute Kinetics Consultancy, an SME that provides workplace safety training and medical services in addition to distributing mobile pre-paid cards.
  • Over at Wilkinson Road, off Tanjong Katong Road, a fully owned unit of Soilbuild recently paid S$19.28 million for an old, two-storey bungalow. The price works out to S$1,203 psf based on the freehold land area of 16,031 sq ft.
  • The bungalow could be easily 40-50 years old, said Lim Chap Huat, executive chairman of Soilbuild, when contacted by The Business Times. "We are buying it from a family."
  • The site is zoned for two-storey bungalow use. Mr Lim said the group plans to redevelop the site into two brand-new bungalows. Work should start around the middle of this year and the new bungalows should be completed in about two years.

Gillian Wu of PropNex represented the buyer, but declined to comment on his identity or the business sector he is involved with.

"This ultra high net worth client had been looking for a suitable residential property in Singapore for some time. He and his family viewed several high-end apartments in the prime districts but nothing caught his eye until he saw this bungalow," said Ms Wu. A big part of the decision to buy the bungalow had to do with its interior design; it has been renovated with high-quality materials and has expensive furniture and fittings. The seafront location was also a key draw, she added.

Word in the market is that the seller invested a few million dollars fitting out the interior, adding sculptures, paintings and decorations, creating a distinctly Chinese theme. He bought the property for S$25 million in 2011 from a seasoned Singaporean bungalow investor.

The two Sentosa Cove bungalow deals year to date follow four transactions in 2015 and three in 2014 - all significantly down from 18 sales in 2013. The best year was 2010, with over 50 transactions.

The record psf on land price for a Sentosa Cove bungalow transaction is still the S$2,989 psf fetched for 81 Ocean Drive in 2010; the absolute price in that deal amounted to S$28.2 million.

Steve Tay, vice-president (resale) of CBRE Realty Associates, said the near-record price set for the latest bungalow deal did not signal a return to peak prices in the waterfront housing district. It was a one-off transaction, reflecting the price premium commanded for a well-located property with seaview and plush fittings and furnishings - compared with a property with average view and design.

Agreeing, Singapore Christie's International Real Estate managing director Samuel Eyo reckons that the major deterrents for Sentosa Cove bungalow deals include the 15 per cent additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) payable by foreign buyers on any residential property purchase in Singapore. PRs pay 5 per cent ABSD when they buy their first residential property and 10 per cent on subsequent purchases.

Singaporean bungalow buyers mostly eschew 99-year-leasehold properties (the tenure on Sentosa Cove), noted Mr Eyo. "Families with young children would rather pick up freehold Good Class Bungalows (GCB) in popular areas - many of which are near good schools - than to live on Sentosa Cove, which is not near any schools," he said.

Only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy landed residential properties in GCB Areas under a policy change in the second half of 2012.

On Sentosa Cove, a foreigner - whether a PR or not - is eligible to seek approval to buy a landed home. A non-citizen is allowed to own just one landed residential property in Singapore and that too for owner occupation only.

Sentosa Cove bungalow at Lakeshore View fetches S$2,775 psf

  • A bungalow in Sentosa Cove fronting the Serapong Golf Course and overlooking the sea, has changed hands for S$23.8 million or S$2,775 per square foot (psf) on the land area of 8,576 square feet.
  • The psf price is the highest for a bungalow transaction in Sentosa Cove in the past two years.
  • The latest bungalow transacted at Lakeshore View has three and a half levels, including a roof terrace with a jacuzzi. In all, the property has four bedrooms, a theatre room and a swimming pool; the total built-up area is around 10,000 sq ft.
  • The buyer, a Chinese businesswoman, has lodged a caveat for the property - having been granted an option to purchase the bungalow and exercised it, both last month. The sellers are three siblings from a Hong Kong family, two of whom are British citizens and the third, a Singapore citizen.
  • Over the past two years, from October 2013 to October 2015, villas on Sentosa Cove have sold at between S$1,386 psf and S$2,612 psf, going by URA Realis data.

This article was first published on October 5, 2016.
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